IBM Corporate Service Corps

Abstract

Founded in 2007, IBM’s Corporate Service Corps (CSC) had become the largest pro bono consulting program in the world. The program promised a triple-benefit: leadership training to the brightest young IBMers, brand recognition for IBM in emerging markets, and community improvement in the areas served by IBM’s host organizations. As the program entered its second decade in 2016, IBM was looking for ways in which it could increase social impact while preserving the program’s other aspects.

Teaching Objectives: (1) The case provides students with an opportunity to investigate the interrelationship of corporate social responsibility, leadership development, and brand building; (2) From an organizational behavior perspective, the case provides a useful examination of HR systems, teamwork, and cultural intelligence; (3) From a marketing perspective, the case describes novel ways corporations can build awareness in new markets; and (4) From a social enterprise perspective, the case raises questions about social impact measurement, determination of high-impact projects, and strategic alliances.

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